On Sunday night, December 28, another one of Fethard’s landmark businesses, The Fethard Arms, closed its doors on Main Street and finally called time after 37 years service to the community. The occasion, tinged with sadness and happy memories, was attended by a large number of customers who recalled the excitement of when the pub first opened in 1977 by local entrepreneur Joe Ahearne who returned from England to his native Fethard.
The late Joe, who died on October 22, 2013, first emigrated to England in 1942 and worked there up to 1949, before returning to Fethard. In 1952 he married his wife Nora Bates in Clerihan and later moved back to live in England. Working by day as a fitter welder, he worked as ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at night for Paddy Casey in the Inishfree Ballroom on Ealing Broadway for eight years and then entered the pub business in Peckham and North Kensington, London.
Purchasing Scully’s Hardware, Pub & Grocery shop in Fethard, Joe returned in 1977 to set up his new family home and business. Joe and Nora’s daughters, Marie and Noreen, followed on a year later in 1978 when the Fethard Arms was up and running. Their son Joseph remained in England as a very successful television writer and director with the BBC.
The opening of the Fethard Arms in 1977 caused great excitement locally and coincided with a hugely popular Country Club Ballroom attracting hundreds of young dancers to Fethard. Joe’s city like pub was the place to be at that time and was always packed to capacity, particularly on dance nights. Joe’s love of the GAA also flourished in Fethard and he held the position of chairman 1990 to 1992. The Fethard Arms became the new home of the Fethard GAA club where games were replayed, tactics discussed and ways to score points and pints.
Life in Fethard has changed over the past forty years but the memories still remain, and in the case of the Ahearne family, and the Fethard Arms, they are all very good. We wish Nora, Marie and Noreen the very best in their future life and thank them for their contribution to our life in Fethard.